Greek protesters rally against IMF and EU inspection. Anti-austerity demonstrators jeer, heckle and throw coins at auditors from bailout troika amid fears of more public sector cuts … Only hours before, the Greek prime minister, Antonis Samaras, had resolutely declared that Greece was not at war with the international bodies keeping the debt-stricken country afloat. But on Tuesday, inspectors representing those organisations may have been forgiven for thinking otherwise. In scenes not witnessed since the beginning of Greece's economic crisis, auditors from the European Union and International Monetary Fund came face-to-face with the full force of anti-austerity anger as protesters in Athens jeered, heckled and stopped them from leaving the finance ministry. – UK Guardian
Dominant Social Theme: Austerity is a messy business but something needs to be done so choose one side or the other! Greece simply cannot continue to function like this.
Free-Market Analysis: This is one of those Guardian articles where you can almost hear the newspaper's inner socialist shouting come out. The trouble is that the Guardian writers and editors are having trouble building the proper workers' narrative.
Instead of pointed, even dramatic reporting, we get basically a squib of an article that doesn't seem to be able to make up its mind. The writing is flat and more descriptive than opinionated. And the article describes both sides of the fracas.
The article shows us definitively how various scenarios are manipulated via the Hegelian dialectic and why there can be no fair resolution to the current crisis – nor was any intended. The mainstream focus on Greece is a perfect example of how the corporate media can steer people to certain conclusions, regardless of whether or not they are truthful.
We begin with the way the article – and most such journalism follows this guideline – positions Greeks within the context of the current austerity: There are Greek public workers, furious and desperate, and there are Greek politicians, unmoved by the furor and grimly determined to keep the "bailout" on track.
Held back by riot police brought in to guard the department, furious demonstrators screamed "take your bailout and get out of here" as the officials left a first round of talks with the finance minister, Yannis Stournaras. The IMF's mission chief to Greece, Poul Thomsen, was forced to duck as a man threw a barrage of coins at him.
As the Dane was pushed into a waiting car, the protester was dispatched to Greece's central police headquarters. Later in the day, the inspectors had to be whisked out of the building through an emergency exit when irate Greeks blocked the main entrance.
The protests come on the eve of a general strike and amid spiralling tensions between Athens and its triumvirate of foreign lenders, "the troika", which have propped up the Greek economy to the tune of €240bn (£200bn) since May 2010. Mired in a sixth straight year of recession, with unemployment nudging 30%, Greece has been hit by record levels of poverty – the price of making the biggest fiscal adjustment of any OECD state since the second world war.
Many of the demonstrators who took to the streets told reporters they had been directly affected by public sector dismissals demanded by the EU, IMF and European Central Bank. The prospect of yet more austerity measures being meted out to plug a looming fiscal gap has sent passions rising further. Relentless spending cuts and tax rises have resulted in Greeks losing 40% of their disposable income since the crisis began, according to Samaras, who took to the airwaves ahead of the troika's latest inspection tour.
"Both Greek society and the economy cannot afford any more measures," the leader said in his first televised interview since assuming office 15 months ago. "Everyone has to understand that."
Samaras sounds sympathetic to the average Greek, but the article ends by pointing out that Samaras has also cautioned Greek activists that they were not at war with their "lenders." Of course, Brussels politicos are in a kind of war, even if pols like Samaras don't want to admit it.
This is what Greek protestors understand, as well: That Greece is a proverbial sacrificial lamb. Not too big, cartoonlike in terms of government programs and retirement benefits, Greece obviously appealed to Brussels as the perfect "sick man." And thus, Greece has been "ground zero" of an identifiable dialectic.
We are supposed to read articles like this and choose sides. Either those who promote austerity are in the right or the Greek workers are correct to rebel. But, in fact, this is a manipulation. There are plenty of other ways to regard the crisis. They're just not being reported.
The main issue when it comes to Greece is that the residents were tricked. As we have explained, countries like Greece were actually provided with massive funding by Brussels so that they could balance the books before joining. But this money, in our view, was simply an ill-conceived bribe designed to ensure that a given country's top elites were cooperative.
The money always went to the government, of course, and the government in power probably never spent the funds as they were supposed to be spent. A great deal ended up in futile public projects or simply overseas somewhere in numbered bank accounts.
The elites of the day and the region, having appropriated the funds, ensured that their countries joined the EU as planned. Then this same group departed en masse for other environs. Average citizens were left to pay the bill when it came due.
And in the case of Greece, it's been a horrible one. Ordinarily, the Greek government would simply devalue in order to rationalize the country's enormous debt. This has the virtue of quieting arguments about who should bear the pain of an unwinding.
But this fiat curative is not available to Greece, as the Greeks have given up control over money printing. Brussels prints the money now and it cannot print one money for the Greeks and another money for the rest of the EU.
Ideally, the Greeks would simply leave the EU but the same powers driving the EU forward are against a "Grexit." Globalization and centralization are slated for continuance no matter what, or so it seems. Additionally and even more cynically, the infrastructure of the EU is being built on the backs – and blood – of Greeks who as the result of their dysfunction continually generate additional precedents for more centralized EU control.
Already, Greece is being virtually run by a coordinated ministry that includes both the IMF and Brussels. But we are not supposed to remember how Greece got into its fix or how it could get out of it. We are merely urged to choose between those who favor austerity or those who don't. And if we are reasonable men and women, we may come down somewhere in the middle, approving of a "compromise."
Hopefully, no compromise is achieved. The Greeks really need to leave the EU along with most of the rest of Southern Europe, and perhaps more countries, as well. This is not a popular solution, however; certainly, it is not one usually advanced in the mainstream media.
Instead, articles like this one in the Guardian utilize the dialectic to provide false choices. This kind of dialectic plays out over a number of scenarios including investing. Always there are predigested choices: We are invited as onlookers to choose from Door A or Door B.
Our argument has been, however, that in the Era of the Internet, such manipulations are increasingly hard to sustain. And thus it is we await a full-blown Greek epiphany. There is no reason to be trapped by a false dialectic in the 21st century. Let it begin in Athens.